VIDEO: Launch of Historic Voting Rights Institute at Georgetown Law with Partners Campaign Legal Center & American Constitution Society Featuring Former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis
This video is now available of the historic October 2 launch of the Voting Rights Institute (VRI) at Georgetown Law. The Institute is a collaboration of Georgetown Law, the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), and the American Constitution Society (ACS). Former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis delivered remarks at the National Press Club event. CLC Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert, Dean William M. Treanor of Georgetown Law and Caroline Fredrickson, President of the American Constitution Society, discussed the VRI’s mission.
The Institute has held training sessions across the country since 2013 to help meet the critical need for a new generation of voting rights lawyers, experts, and community activists. The trainings were originally launched in the lead-up to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which nullified a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The Voting Rights Institute (VRI) at Georgetown Law offers opportunities for students, recent graduates and fellows to engage in voting rights work, including active litigation. In addition, the VRI will continue to train the next generation of attorneys and expert witnesses in the field of voting rights. The VRI will also maintain a website with information about voting rights cases and issues available to the general public, and a separate legal resources library for voting rights litigators. The VRI will also promote increased local and national focus on voting rights issues through events, publications and the development of web-based tools; and provide opportunities and platforms for research and data base analysis of voting rights issues.
Voting Rights Institute training sessions held across the country since 2013 have instructed practitioners and law students on the ‘ins and outs’ of protecting the right to vote through the enforcement of voting rights laws. Cases brought to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, have been a particular focus of the trainings. Each session has featured a panel of instructors with decades of experience in the field of voting rights.
The first students in the Voting Rights Institute are currently enrolled in Georgetown Law’s Institute of Public Representation (IPR) and are working on several cases identified by the Campaign Legal Center and the American Constitution Society. IPR has hired a clinical fellow to supervise students working on these cases and to manage legal matters within IPR with a particular focus on voting rights issues. A partner legal fellow has also been hired, who is developing training materials for voting rights lawyers and leaders, overseeing use of the Voting Rights Institute soon-to-be-public website, and identifying appropriate voting rights cases for the Georgetown law students.
To date, over 400 attendees representing a diverse group of attorneys, law students and voting rights advocates have taken part in these activities. This past Fall, Georgetown Law hosted a training institute, and more are expected at that venue (and other cities across the country) in the coming years.
To watch the video, click here.